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Studio 60 Fodder

Studio 60: Monday, Part 1 - Full Recap

I THINK Monday to which this title refers must be the day the episode takes place on. This is probably really intuitive and I just missed it. That happens. But I assumed when they called it "Part I" that Part II would also be named "Monday," and this was confusing me. The end of this episode is definitely the end of the day. Or at least, only a few hours from the end of it. But it turns out that Part II is being called "The Harriet Dinner," so I'm thinking this must actually be the day of the episode.

Anyway, I didn't realize at the beginning of the episode that "Monday" wasn't just the day the scene happened on. You'd think by now that I'd KNOW that the show-within-the-show is taped on Friday (Danny calls from a wrap party), but apparently not. Or I was distracted by Bradley Whitford. And didn't yet realize that he was going to be bringing the crazy this episode.

Danny calls Jordan at 0-dark-30--well, at least by her standards. She was sleepy and went to bed early. After packing to visit her parents back East and then to St. Lucia. How many bags is she taking? Or is she just planning to spend the entire time in the Virgin Islands in the spa bathrobe and a bathing suit to show off her four-month baby bump? Anyway, she actually answers the phone at that hour, which is nutty. And she is bustin' out all over! I don't know is if her bosom is always that impressive, or if it's the pregnancy combined with the angle she's sitting at and her nightgown. What I do know i that it's a good thing Danny isn't here to see THIS.

Next, she gets a call from him inviting her to Christmas Eve Mass so she won't be alone Christmas Eve. Which would be thoughtful, except, of course, she's still back East. Apparently Danny forgot. Although you'd think if he were that into her, he'd know EXACTLY where she was and have it written down. At the rate he's going, probably on all the walls of his house. So either he wants her to know he's still interested, or he was hoping she'd come rushing back. To go to Mass. I suppose he COULD actually have forgotten, but it just seems unlikely. Her parents' house is decorated very nicely, though.

Next, Danny calls her in St. Lucia. Apparently she took off to St. Lucia for a really expensive spa visit. I'm hoping she did more than just that and looking at prospective scripts the whole time, and we just never get to see it. Because I'm pretty sure there are ultra-swanky spas in the US. Anyway, Danny is calling from the studio with a new phone number because he figured she had him on caller ID by now (she's actually had him there since before the call after the Christmas show). If HE'S worried about that, he should maybe take this as a hint that he's being too forward. It's normal for the "pursuee" to recognize it, but it has to be pretty bad for the pursuer to get it. He swears he's not at the studio, but his cover is blown by Matt screaming that he's leaving from his office. Jordan doesn't like him being at the theatre all alone on the holidays. See, she demonstrated concern for his well-being. That was her first mistake! No, I guess her FIRST mistake was telling him that she was going to be his best friend. That, and not dressing like Lilith Sternin-Crane at the office. Except Danny would probably find THAT hot, too.

He calls her on New Year's while watching the fireworks at Times Square on his plasma TV. I must need to be a film director. He can afford coke AND a plasma. I'm writing these reviews after watching the show on a little 13" TV. She sends the call straight to voice mail. She's got the new number on caller ID, too. He wants to know if there's anything about the New Year he should be looking for, since she's been in 2007 for three hours longer than he has (He called her at 3 a.m.? That's thoughtful). Then again, if it weren't 3 a.m. (or he knew she would be up or not able to hear the phone if asleep) and they were actually a couple, it might be cute and/or sweet. Of course, it IS 3 a.m., I'm guessing he had no idea she'd be up and he's already wakened her once with the phone, and they're NOT a couple. So it's just not as sweet or cute as I'm guessing he hopes. Luckily, she's apparently staying up until 3 a.m. looking at those scripts. Maybe she never bothered to get her internal clock off of LA time. Which seems impractical. While listening to the message, she pages through a script and finds a crinkled photo of the two of them raising a toast.


Wish I knew who crinkled it and who stuck it in the script pages. Actually, I suppose I have a good idea of both. It's a nice picture, though. Hopefully they're toasting with sparkling cider. Hasn't she been knocked up since they've known each other? Or was she still dating the loser-yutz-boyfriend when she started the job at NBS? Certainly it sounds like DANNY thinks she stopped sleeping with him after he told her he failed his drug test, but I don't know that that's what really happened.

Finally, he's back at the office and goes to call Jordan one last time. Hey! It's probably the Monday of the title, huh? However, Cal calls a meeting, so he leaves, mumbling, "At least I'm back on television."

Jordan is back in her office and meets with Hallie Galloway, Head of Alternative Programming, which translates to "reality TV" for the rest of us. Hallie points out that Ed Sullivan was reality TV (I'm pretty sure Ed Sullivan was a variety/talk show. So I think that makes at least part of Studio 60 reality TV by that definition, too). Jordan wants Elvis and the Beatles. Jordan also didn't want there to BE a head of alternative programming. She calls Hallie the "Head of Illiterate Programming," which lets us know how Jordan feels about that. Well, we already knew, but now Hallie knows, too. She wanted to know if having the job added is punishment for Jordan passing on Search and Destroy, the series she refused to bid on in favor of Nations. Jordan says no, she just didn't want to make more trouble for Jack Rudolph right now.

In the writers' room, Matt is reading the 48 Laws of Power, which he says sounds like a pocket guide to being a head of a crime organization. Matt thinks there's a sketch to be found in someone taking the laws FAR too literally. That assumes that the audience knows about the 48 Laws. Darius says it's big in the hip-hop community, but I'm GUESSING that there is at least some segment of the Studio 60 audience that doesn't include hip-hop enthusiasts.

Simon pulls Darius out of the room. He wants to work on a character/sketch featuring a new black militant fruit added to the Fruit of the Loom guys. Darius says it sounds great and that he'll tell Matt he wants to work on it, and then gives the sketch to Lucy as soon as Simon is gone. I foolishly thought this was because Simon had been sorta flirting with her when they were writing the Christmas show, but apparently I was overthinking it. Or underthinking it. One or the other. Still, Andy seems like a far better choice (since Darius is giving it away). Mark McKinney used to play a black bluesman named Mississippi Gary.

Oh, wait. That's Mark. Not Andy. Still, Andy seems more likely to not totally embarrass himself trying to be Street than Lucy. Matt, too, but he's the head writer, so I'm guessing we don't give this stuff to him. Especially since he already does way too much writing by himself for the show.

Suzanne The Assistant comes in with scripts for Matt to sign for a charity auction for Women United Through Faith. That's the organization that Harriet was going to tour with before they canceled her because she wasn't homophobic enough for them. Matt refuses to sign them BECAUSE it's for Women United Through Faith. It turns out Harry is hiding just outside the room and yells at Matt about his lousy attitude before announcing that scripts will sell for the same amount without his signature. Neener neener.

Suzanne The Assistant then finds out that Harriet is auctioning off a date with her to an dinner where she'll be getting an award from Catholics in Media (she's Baptist, but apparently the Catholics like her anyway. Maybe she went to Midnight Mass). Matt figures out that Luke Scott has already bid on the date because his user name is ever so sly. Well, it's probably no easier to figure out that Sorkin's was when he was on the TWoP boards. Matt wants to bid on dinner with Harry, but only a dollar more than Luke. He doesn't want to give any more money to a teen abstinence program (what Women United is raising money for) than necessary. Lucy The user name Suzanne picks for him is boss_sexy. Well, they already had that flirty thing going for them. There is an epidemic of people flirting with their superiors (or underlings) at Studio 60. At least Matt plays along when Suzanne does it, so I assume it's not unwelcome with him. The rest of the writing staff seem fairly bemused by the whole thing ("Matt, we only have a week to write this show, so unless we're writing about you bidding on Harriet, we ought to think about working a little today." Oh, sorry. That was my internal monologue going all external). Poor Lucy states that she's had her own involuntary abstinence program. I dunno, she was dating that guy not TOO long ago. I mean, involuntary abstinence sucks, but unless the, um, heat died off before the broke up, she certainly doesn't have the longest dry spell going.

Regardless, the poor thing is adorable. If sad.

Jack and Wilson White are meeting with the board of directors of NBS' parent company over the FCC issues. The head of the board, Ted, is played by Kurt Fuller, one of my favorite character actors. Among other things, he was Werner Klemperer in Auto Focus and Karl Rove in That's My Bush! (I was just going through his bio for this paragraph, and about every fourth title, I'd say, "Oh, yeah, he WAS in that, wasn't he?"). Once again he's playing a total tool. That does seem to be what he does best. Or at least most. Jack and Wilson both say they won't pay or take any of the deals suggested by the lawyers, which the board wants. The board worries that the Macao deal will fall through. Jack points out that you can't mess with the news during wartime. Ted the Head suggests that this whole conversation belongs in an ethics class at a women's college. I realize he's the head of a whole parent company, not just the TV network, but that seems fairly insulting to everyone, ethics classes and women's colleges included. Jack then calls Ted the Head a moron, with which Wilson concurs (I hope we see more of Ted. I just enjoy calling him "Ted the Head." I'm guessing we're at least good for the second part of this two-parter. Hope so, anyway). They call a vote of confidence, which Jack wants to avoid, but Wilson allows. I'm not sure Wilson has any choice, but he says to let it go. There is a serious vote of No Confidence against Wilson so the board can start to negotiate with the FCC. This, of course, probably also means that Wilson is out of a job.

After the vote, Jack and Wilson are alone in the conference room. They have a great conversation that involves way more silence than most Sorkin dialogue. And it really works. Mind, I love his usual patter, but these are very well-used pauses. Jack wants to know what to do next, and Wilson says he's an old man and doesn't know what he's saying half the time. Man, between that and Jordan's spaghetti-twirling skills, half this cast reminds me of my grandparents. There were 13 votes against Wilson, which he says is all because of the Macao deal. Jack wants to get Zhang Tao (the business man on the Macao end of that business deal) to threaten to give the deal to Time-Warner if NBS gives in to the FCC. And what luck, the Juilliard Symphony is going to be playing a concert at UCLA, and since Zhang Tao's daughter is in that symphony, guess where he's going to be? So Jack is on his way to UCLA to deal.

Lucy comes down to work with Simon on his Fruit of the Loom sketch, which surprises Simon.

Tom convinces Harriet to show Matt a new character, Dolphin Girl. The voice she uses is truly frightening. However, the character has potential--far more than the character that Dylan will introduce later in the episode, the Husky Gymnast. It's a cute idea, but I can't see it working for more than a sketch or two. At least Dolphin Girl could carry several scenes. She's the very sort of character that SNL would have made a movie about in the 90s out of 5 minutes of jokes and 100 minutes of crappy filler. Man, I sure don't miss those days.

Matt and Harriet have much more chemistry when they're sniping at each other. It's sort of that Sam and Diane from Cheers vibe. It's much better than the quasi-shmoopy vibe. The kiss was hot, but when they were having a Moment while Sting sang "Fields of Gold," I felt nuthin'. No, that's not true; I felt that I wanted to see more Sting and less shmoopy. The sniping, THAT I can believe.

Tom also wants Matt's permission to date Lucy. Wes apparently had a no-dating rule because there had been some incidents. I'm hoping we find out what those were, because I suspect that with at least ONE of the couples (or, in Danny and Jordan's case, "couples"), we may be reminded why inter-office dating is often ill advised. Matt gives his blessing with a warning not to hurt the poor girl. On the bright side, since she just had her heart ripped out of her chest, torn up, stomped on, and then the jerky ex sat on the heart and cut one, it shouldn't take much effort for Tom to impress her.

As long as he's bidding (now $1201) on Harriet for the abstinence charity, Matt wants to find a charity that does the exact opposite to give the exact same amount to. It's LA; it shouldn't be that hard to find.

Hallie is back in Jordan's office. She gives Jordan some folic acid as a gesture. She says that Jordan keeps everyone in "suspended terror" and cultivates "an air of unpredictability." Which isn't what Jordan was going for (It also doesn't sound much like Jordan. Jack maybe. Jordan, not so much). Hallie pitches All You Need is Love. It's about people apologizing and healing. She specifically mentions a defrocked priest meeting with his victims. Gosh, I can't see anyone having a problem with THAT episode. Not victims, and certainly not members of the Catholic church. Basically, the show sounds horrible. Of course, I'm biased against most reality shows that aren't contests. But I think that's what Aaron was hoping for. Actually, I'll bet that he wouldn't mind if I hated the contest shows, too.

After declaring that she also thinks the show sounds horrible, Jordan gets a call from Jack (she can only talk on speaker phone). She tells him that the Dracula movie they were shooting for May sweeps had to shut down forever because the production company ran out of money and the crew ran off with the equipment. And the director moved into the set (a castle) and locked the door behind him. Jack suggests using Hallie's All You Need Is Love show in its place, which reveals that she went over Jordan's head to pitch the idea to Jack. Which is way out of the chain of command. Hallie makes a really ugly comment that there's another pretty girl at the dance anymore, and Hallie isn't pregnant. She's sort of a world-class bow-wow, as a friend of mine would say. Jordan does ask for a formal proposal from Hallie and then tells her to get out of her office. Which actually shows some restraint. Had it been me, phrases like "don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out" or "and the horse you rode in on" would have been used. But then, diplomacy has never been my strong suit.

Jordan and Harriet have lunch at the studio and talking about the meeting with Hallie. Jordan realizes that maybe SHE'S the bee-yotch, since she basically put Hallie down from minute one. She has a point, but that All You Need is Love show STILL sounds like a terrible idea.

Danny finishes a staff meeting off with the sort of panache that Leo used to finish White House staff meetings with. Beauty. Matt wants Danny to write a recommendation for his nephew, who is applying to Northwestern University. Northwestern, of course, is Danny's alma mater. Danny reveals that he was in the AV club in high school (hey, like D'arcy Wretzky of the Smashing Pumpkins--well, if The Simpsons is to be believed). AND he played saxophone in the marching band. No word if he continued in college. Hey! Maybe that's where he started on his road to ruin. The saxophonists in my college band were a hard-drinkin' group. I don't believe it led any of them to cocaine, but for the purposes of a story (or at least my insane imagination), it would work. By the way, now you all know that I was in college band AND played sousaphone. Even without having been in AV club, I still think this qualifies me as a grade-A geek.

Danny may still be a geek: He realizes that he should get letters of recommendation of his own from famous people (and his doctor, dentist, the interns, and his mommy) to send to Jordan so she'll go out with him. Like so many things he does in this episode, this seems like a cute idea, but only if she had shown any interest. Oh, and if she WEREN'T HIS BOSS.

Suzanne The Assistant found an organization that supports the national polyamorous movement, Loving More. I didn't know such an organization (or movement) existed, so my thanks to Robin Trask for setting me straight. She points out that the organization is sex positive, but is about relationships, not sex. However, that would have taken more time to explain, and wouldn't have been as funny. And besides, otherwise, Robin, there wouldn't be a story. Anyway, Loving More will get Matt's matching donation if he wins his date with Harriet. On the bright side, the bidding is getting pretty high, so they'll be getting plenty. Except, of course, this is just a story. So they'll be getting fictional thousands. Sorry, Robin.

Lucy is working with Simon on the Fruit of the Loom sketch, but it turns out that she has absolutely no street cred. At all. Which really isn't a surprise. And this comes from someone who has barely more street cred than Lucy, and way less excuse. Probably I wouldn't use words like "prat" and "git" in a sketch about militant fruit, but I'm afraid I might use them in some other sketch.

Simon calls out Darius, pissed because he gave the sketch to Lucy. Simon suggests Darius gave it away because he didn't want to be The Black Guy. Simon mutters that he "saved" Darius who was "two hits in the head from being nothing (And if one were wondering why I'm quoting so much here, it's because of my total lack of street cred). Darius basically suggests Simon is being an Uncle Tom, and Simon tells Darius to go, and he doesn't NEED to use phrases like "don't let the door hit you in the ass" or "and the horse you rode in on."

Tom awkwardly flirts with Lucy, which is adorable in its ineptness. He finally asks her out on Thursday, the night of Harriet's award ceremony (though he doesn't ask her TO the ceremony--I assume he wasn't going to be going. However, the timing will be significant). She agrees (after asking "Really" three times. Because she is also cute), and then laughs adorably when he goes.

Jack is at UCLA at the Juilliard dress rehearsal, practicing his Chinese in the lobby through the rehearsal and then through the concert. At least I don't think he's learning how to say "How do you do, Eyebrow," which is all the Chinese I know. After the concert, he catches up with Zhang Tao. Luckily, the woman with Zhang Tao (I assume she is his wife) translates. I don't know why the international businessman is the only one in his family who doesn't speak English, but otherwise, Daniel, there wouldn't be a scene. Jack explains the situation to Zhang Tao. Zhang Tao was in the Army and understands swearing when being fired upon. Jack asks him a favor, man-to-man (a phrase Zhang Tao knows). He tells Zhang Tao, "I need you to dump us." Hey, Lucy's rotten ex could teach him how!

Jordan goes to apologize to Hallie, who is working out on a treadmill with heavy hands, her iPod, and no shirt. (Maybe Apple will add more money to my iTunes account for the mention, hope hope?) Brandi Chastain Hallie ain't. Jordan apologizes and tells Hallie that Sales and Marketing both love the awful show (then again, Sales is frequently populated by people like Herb Tarlek, so make of that what you will), so they should forge ahead with it. She also says that Hallie had a good first day. Even with Jordan coming down on her.

At UCLA, Zhang Tao explains that because he said he would give the deal to NBS' parent company, he is honor-bound to do it. Jack says it's this very sense of honor to which he and Wilson White are appealing. Kim (the daughter who was smitten with Tom Jeter--I don't blame her at all) comes out to meet her parents. She's wearing a pretty dress, but it's not the sort of dress you wear in an orchestra concert. Even at Juilliard. But especially in the viola section. Poor violas. Right away starts fighting with her dad because she wants to give up the viola and go into improvisational comedy. It's probably because the poor violas never get the glory role in the orchestra. Maybe that's why she was in the pretty dress. She was trying to make up for a concert full of playing the "umm-chucks" all night. Regardless, she wants out, and she wants to meet with Tom to get some pointers on the business. Jack says he will set up a meeting with Tom if she'll fix his problem with Zhang Tao. Jack will have Tom take Kim to Harry's awards ceremony. Which is the same night as Tom's date with Lucy. Jack tells Zhang Tao that he'll have his daughter back, which stops Kim (she doesn't want to be back, apparently), but seems to make Zhang Tao and his wife both pretty pleased.

As an aside, I know that Bradley Whitford both plays viola and went to Juilliard. I have no idea if he ever played viola AT Juilliard, but since Nevada Day part 1 that connection has been making me giggle. I wonder if anyone in the cast went to Northwestern...

Matt points out to Harry that kids who are taught abstinence tend to have more unsafe sex because they never learn about safe sex practices (Besides the study at Columbia, I just found out that they've been teaching abstinence in a lot of Seattle schools and discovering the same thing). In spite of being faced by Matt again, Harriet invites him to the awards ceremony that he's been bidding on. I don't know if that means she wants two dates for the event, or how that's going to work. However, he declines. Then again, maybe she knew he was going to decline, so she was safe making the offer. Apparently Matt would rather give a ton of money to opposing charities. He also wants her to go on dates with Luke that aren't attended by everyone he knows (Though I'm sure he'd rather she just not go on dates with Luke). Maybe they can go to parties in Finland. Harriet points out that this is a big difference from the Big Smooch backstage, after which he acted like nothing happened, and suggests that he pick a gear and go with it. Matt now needs to get his allowance from his folks for these charities because the bids are up to $4001.

Simon comes by, and Matt asks if something is going on between him and Darius. Simon says not to worry about it.

Lucy and Tom both come by separately but simultaneously to ask to leave work early on Thursday for their date. She's really quite adorable when she's twitterpated. She says Tom seems to be a gentleman, and Matt says he is. I hope that was a nice date. Matt seems bemused by everything that happens in his office. Well, it is bemusing. He points out that that's the first time he's seen Lucy smile (I was never looking at the screen the first two times I watched the scene, which is how I got that line wrong. D'oh. Sorry. Thanks for the catch, ransomjackson). It's a nice smile. It's a nicer twitterpate. Suzanne The Assistant tells Tom that Jack has called him and that he's not to leave the studio. She then needs to make sure she didn't get that wrong, because why would Jack need TOM, and not Matt (Poor dissed Tom)?

Jordan comes by the studio. She got Matt's letter of recommendation (which he wants her to read again, because it's all TRUE), along with the Third Earl of Kent, Lauren Bacall, Scorsese, and a bunch of other people. Matt asks Jordan about the 48 Laws of Power. One of the laws says to keep people in "suspended terror and cultivate an air of unpredictability," which gives her pause, since that's what Hallie said Jordan was doing. It still doesn't seem like Jordan. Maybe a LITTLE. But only to Hallie.

Jordan, however, has actually come to see Danny. She says the letters of recommendation were an embarrassment to her and made her look silly at the worst possible time. She tells him he has to stop. He asked her out three times and each time she turned him down (although she was out of town for some of those dates). She asks him to stop, and he says no, leaving her dumbstruck and alone in the studio.

I do wonder where they're going to go with this Jordan/Danny thing. I love Danny, so this stalking-type behavior worries me on a variety of levels. I don't want him to be less likable. The boss (Danny) isn't the sort of person who shouldn't get "No means No."7 He's the one who should be holding meetings telling the rest of the staff about sexual harassment. At least he's not pursuing one of HIS employees, because that WOULD be troubling.

I'm sure we're supposed to find his behavior troubling. Sorkin knows romance well enough to know this isn't it. I like the theory that xedout mentioned (even if it does come from the TWoP boards) that this is an aspect of his addictive personality (Can you go to rehab for that?). I know Matt's going to tell him to knock it off this week, but I'm interested to see how they'll work this. So far it's a one-way (scary) romance, and I've been hearing "romance BETWEEN Danny and Jordan," so I assume something is going to change. I just picture Danny sitting at home listening to No Doubt's "Simple Kind of Life" and Everclear's "Unemployed Boyfriend." Or Bruce McCullough's "Stalking."

And drinking Cocaine Energy Drink.

Anyway, as worrisome as his pursuing of Jordan is, it's hard on me that he looks so CUTE when he's refusing to leave her alone.

This week, the day after the awards dinner for Harriet (when the whole Jack-Kim-Tom-Lucy thing will blow up. Also the Harriet-Matt-Luke Scott thing), Masi Oka (my favorite Hero) will be the guest host of the show. I wonder if they'll mention that he used to do digital art at Industrial Light and Magic before he starred on Heroes. I'm guessing not. Darn it. But it's a detail I like. Besides, it ups his geek cred. Which plays in nicely with his comic book-loving TV character nicely. Plus, he's a young actor on TV who's actually older than I am, which always makes me feel better about myself.

On a personal note, I discovered this week that I have another job besides writing this blog (Okay, I knew that, but I forgot how much time it can take). Luckily, my "short" recap was still fairly darn long. So from now on, I will probably only do the "short" recap, and may embellish it through the week. If I do that, I'll make note of it at the beginning of the review somewhere. I know, I think this is the second change to my process in two weeks, but I'm still trying to figure out what works best for me. We'll see what changes next week.

Posted by on January 28, 2007 11:54 PM
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